BY REV. ANDREW MESSICK - CROSSWINDS CHURCH, EFCA
In the age of Tinder, POF, Christian Mingle, and eHarmony how should we think about looking for our soul mate? Do we swipe right merely based on a picture? You who have been searching for a long time can identify all too well with Proverbs 31:10: "An excellent wife, who can find? She is far more precious than jewels" and are possibly losing hope in the idea that you will ever find "The One."
Let's start by asking a more basic question, "Does 'The One' even exist?"
We have all heard of dating as looking for our "other half" or our "soul mate." But are these even helpful ways to think about dating? We have high expectations when it comes to dating and all of us assume that there is someone out there for everyone.
We can answer this question two ways: practically and scripturally. Practically speaking, many of us have found "The One" and have already been disappointed and devastated when it didn’t work out. Based on the U.S. Census concerning divorce rate, 46% of marriages end in divorce. This means there is a good chance that if you do get married, you won't stay married. Many people have been married multiple times. What does that say about "The One?" Are there multiple "The Ones" for some people? If "The One" means finding the person you will marry then, yes, for many people there are multiple "The Ones."
Scripture doesn't say that there is someone out there for everyone. The Apostle Paul was single and he encouraged singles to stay single, abstaining from marriage.
"I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am." (1 Corinthians 7:7-8.) If our apostle is advocating singleness then it goes against the idea that there is someone out there for everyone.
If you are starting to worry because you want to get married, you can rest easy, the very next verse says "But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion." (1 Corinthians 7:9.)
Based on this I would advocate that finding "The One" is an unhelpful way of looking for a spouse.
Instead of finding "The One" I would encourage the following:
1) Work on yourself! Start getting ready for marriage. Get those finances and credit cards under control. Pay off the student loans and car payments. More importantly, work on being the kind of person someone should want to marry. Have integrity at work and honor your commitments. Say "I'm sorry" whenever you wrong someone, whether a friend or a co-worker. Cultivating habits of honesty, integrity, and self-control will go a long way for both finding more happiness in life (single or married), and lead you to be in a place where you are able to have a healthy relationship when a great person comes along.
2) Put yourself out there more often! Try new things and put yourself in many different social environment and social circles. Your chances of finding mutual attraction are higher if you are regularly meeting new people. This is true of all those dating apps and social networking in general.
3) Look for someone who shares similar goals and values. Amos 3:3 asks, "Can two people walk together, unless they are agreed?" This is a wise question. Don't be part of the divorce statistic if you can help it. Look for someone who shares your values and goals so that you can cultivate a healthy marriage that is going in the same direction.
4) Cultivate your relationship with Jesus. God created marriage. It's his idea in the first place. The reason God created marriage was to create a framework in which people gave him glory. Work on your relationship with God first! God invites us into a relationship with himself in which we can find more satisfaction, security, value, and purpose than any marriage can offer.